Sally II

Sally II
Vertue Rewarded: Sally II on Loch Broom. Sailing my own boat again, for a change

Tuesday, 12 August 2014


The small burn that runs under the road above Leckmelm farm burst its banks during a period of intense rainfall on Monday, sending a flash flood through the farm and through my workshop. The photos speak for themselves, as we attempted to clean up the silt that carpeted the shed and dry out tools and salvage what remained of the timber.

The good news is that the Ilur... floats. albeit somewhat prematurely, and was not damaged in the slightest. Nor was the Honda VFR 750 or the little Yanmar waiting to be refurbished, both or which were well high enough and dry enough to escape. But it will be some time before normal service is resumed.

The farm itself has suffered severe damage to roads and cottages.

A number of lambs were swept away and a pet cat, but despite the ferocity of the surge, everyone managed to escape before the deluge struck. And it struck with frightening force and speed. All the turkeys were lost and the silage. So, perhaps, we were fortunate. And fortunate too that Ullapool rallied around to help in a way that makes you proud to be a part of the community.

Thursday, 10 July 2014


Gracie, for that is her name, was launched on 28th June at Looe in Cornwall where a small crowd of family and friends watched her debut.

All went well and motor trials on the Saturday were followed by a short sailing session the next day.

The owner seemed pleased, and the bystanders, many of whom were boat builders (or certainly appeared to know a thing or two about boats) said nice things. Champagne was poured and there was a small gathering later to celebrate.

Have to say that the whole process was most enjoyable. Thanks Ian.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Painting Time

Rather than use gloss paint we decided to go for Hempel's Multicoat, a very tough, opaque and semi-gloss finish that perfectly complements the work boat origins of the CaledoniaYawl.

Easy on the eye and easier to apply.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Where are we Now?

Steady progress but no time for blogging. The end is definitely in sight but there's a way to go yet.

The rubbing strips around the gunwales were fixed a few days ago, and the gap between the inwales and the strips filled with epoxy and iroko dust, which will seal the end grain of the plywood. I saw a nasty example of what can happen if the plywood is not sealed at the top edge. Water gets sucked into the laminates and that is basically it. Very hard to repair.

The other innovation, and departure from the plans, is to fit a mast thwart at station 2. Because the foredeck has been lowered it is no longer high enough to support the mast. The foredeck as drawn has a slot with two mast positions: sloop and yawl. Having talked to owners, and the designer himself, we all agreed that a single mast position some way between the two works perfectly well and saves a lot of unnecessary joinery.
The foredeck now makes a great place to sit, and the mast thwart has been sculpted to form a comfy backrest. I can imagine the owner's two children sitting facing forward, watching the bow rise to the waves and laughing for the joy of it all.

Oh, and managed to squeeze the outboard into the aft locker.

The spars arrived from Collars the other day and - what can I say? - perfection. Steve Hall down in Essex is making the sails as I write (or I hope he is, as the owner is getting a little twitchy).

Meanwhile the Ilur is nearly planked. The eighth strake is next followed by the sheerstrake which I intend to make in solid larch, so no worries about end grain or delamination.

Friday, 18 April 2014

It was a Good Friday...

Here is the workshop as I left it on Thursday. I was planning to work on Friday but the weather was so nice that I decided to sort out the club Flying Fifteen instead. I spent an hour or so only sanding the Ilur, after the day before when I put up the garboards and fixed the skeg.

The mizzen for the Caledonia Yawl is a "recyled" Gannet mast. It will serve well enough until the owner gets round to making one for himself. It seemed a shame to waste a good length of spruce, but I did have to spend more hours than I should have tapering it and cleaning it up.

The hatch covers are also recycled, from the deck of a superyacht refitting in Holland. They should look smart against the interior which will be painted cream at some later stage.

That's a gadget my friend Mattis sent from Norway to gauge the angle of garboards, rabbets and indeed the angle of planks in general. I put it to first use checking the bevel on the Ilur's keelson, to make sure it was symmetrical. Clever people those Norwegians. Such a simple device and beautifully crafted by Mattis, for which many thanks. Incidentally he calls it variously a leggfjol, gradbrett or batvater (NB there are some accents missing along the way).

That's about all until Tuesday when more planks will go on the Ilur and a start made on the side benches for the Yawl. Lots more to do, although I can begin to see the end of it. Keeping two boats inside one head is quite an interesting challenge.